Dennis Yu

How to use Google Conversion Optimizer in just 3 minutes

New to Conversion Optimizer or perhaps puzzled about how to use it properly?  Give me 3 minutes right now I’ll tell you what you need to know– this should save you a ton of time with bid optimization and, more importantly, increase your PPC profits.

First off, Google’s Campaign Optimizer works at the campaign level.  Find it in your campaign settings here (the tab in green):

Then scroll down a bit further until you get to bidding options and choose “Focus on conversions”.  A big yellow box opens up:

If you don’t see that option available to you, it means that you don’t have enough conversions for the system to be able to optimize.  Google has lowered the stated number of conversions needed to activate this option, though I believe that you should have at least 50 conversions per month to make it even more worthwhile.

You’ll notice that the recommended CPA target is far higher than the actual CPA you’ve observed.  Go ahead and accept that default or perhaps go 10% less.  Don’t be alarmed, this is not Google attempting to get you to spend more.  Remember that the max CPA is not your actual CPA– somewhat like your max CPC is not your actual CPC.  There is one key difference in that your actual CPAs may sometimes be HIGHER than your target.  This often happens the first few days while their system is learning how to optimize bids. Don’t freak out.

Change the settings for each campaign and you’ve now saved yourself a ton of wasted bids, avoided needing to spend money on fancy bid optimization software, and increased your profit with a lot less effort.

Here are some additional tips:

  • Separate your search and content campaigns– Yes, you’ve heard this before.  However, you might not realize another reason is that view-through conversions are not taken into account for Conversion Optimizer.  If you haven’t seen the power of a view-through conversion on a banner ad, it’s a conversion that happened where the user saw the ad but didn’t click on it.  For every direct conversion (last click attribution), you may see an additional 10 to 20 view-through conversions, which means your CPA could be 1/10th of what is being reported. Because Conversion Optimizer doesn’t take into account view-through conversions, you’ll want to set the CPA targets a bit higher on content campaigns that have banner ads.
  • When you use Conversion Optimizer, your dayparting goes out the window.  See the screenshot below, where there is the gray text that says “Ad scheduling bid modifications are unavailable with a focus on conversions”.  I think that it’s silly to not be allowed both, since perhaps your conversion is based on a call– and your call center is open only during certain hours.  Perhaps Google’s ad server, as sophisticated as it is, can’t handle this yet:

We’re told by the Google folks that Conversion Optimizer does take into account a day of the week into the bidding.  However, we’ve not seen that to be true.  For example, if you run online dating campaigns, you know that your conversions are higher between 5 pm and 10 pm local time, as well as on Friday and Saturday nights.  We have not noticed Google’s Conversion Optimizer adjusts to bid higher during those peak conversion periods.  Instead, we see the CPAs follow a “sine wave” curve week after week.

As for whether Google can optimize based on placement on the Content Network, we are not sure but would love to hear your thoughts.

A final tip for you:  Don’t let Conversion Optimizer cause you to be lazy.  In the past, you could literally upload a few hundred thousand keywords in bulk— not organized in any way and with a list of just garbage terms– and then count on Conversion Optimizer to automatically sort through them to find the terms that converted.  That used to be quite effective.  Nowadays, if you do that, you’ll likely get hit with Quality Score penalties, even if you have an aged account.

An example of where you want to group terms properly is brand bidding.  Your own name will convert better than generic terms, largely because it’s actually navigation as opposed to true search (for people who can’t use the address bar and use the search box instead to get around the web).  Your branded terms on PPC are also stealing from your organic traffic, which also causes you to overstate the CPA if you’re going off the default last-click attribution that Google uses.  The answer isn’t to avoid brand bidding, but to put brand terms into their own campaign and not even have them on a CPA target at all.  Your max CPC on brand terms should be based on the cannibalization rate of organic search- more on how to do that another day.

Are our 3 minutes up?  I hope you got some value out of this article.

Dennis Yu

Dennis Yu is co-author of the #1 best selling book on Amazon in social media, The Definitive Guide to TikTok Ads. He has spent a billion dollars on Facebook ads across his agencies and agencies he advises. Mr. Yu is the "million jobs" guy-- on a mission to create one million jobs via hands-on social media training, partnering with universities and professional organizations. You can find him quoted in major publications and on television such as CNN, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NPR, and LA Times. Clients have included Nike, Red Bull, the Golden State Warriors, Ashley Furniture, Quiznos-- down to local service businesses like real estate agents and dentists. He's spoken at over 750 conferences in 20 countries, having flown over 6 million miles in the last 30 years to train up young adults and business owners. He speaks for free as long as the organization believes in the job-creation mission and covers business class travel. You can find him hiking tall mountains, eating chicken wings, and taking Kaqun oxygen baths-- likely in a city near you.
I'm a member of Blitzmetrics Academy and a friend of Dennis to boot. Not only is Dennis highly intelligent and full of great and creative ideas, he's also incredibly generous with both his knowledge and his time. Success couldn't come to a better guy. Thank you for all that you do for the world, Dennis! 🙏

Michael Pacheco


Thanks 🙏 for being shining light in this industry. Love what your building for works overseas too network for jobs so innovative. Dennis helped me navigate having bad experiences with marketing agencies and doing dollar a day marketing which has helped my personal brand tremendously. Highly recommend.

Eric Skeldon

Founder at Kingdom Broker

Working with Dennis has been a delightful experience. After meeting him in 2015 I got to collaborate with him on countless occasions. His understanding for state-of-the-art marketing, his implementation, and his leadership put him into the top 0.01% of marketers and mentors.

Jan Koch

Ihr kompetenter Partner für innovative KI-Strategien.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Dennis for my podcast in 2021 and since then we have maintained a friendship that grows with each interaction. I have seen Dennis' devotion to his friends and clients firsthand, and our conversations often result in us talking about how we can provide more value to the people around us. He is someone whom I can ask questions on a technical level, and look to on a personal level. If you have any hesitancy about hiring him, get over yourself and do it!

Isaac Mashman

Help scaling personal brands.

Geez, where do I start recommending Dennis? First, he is an absolutely brilliant marketer who understands where marketing is today and where it's going tomorrow. He also has an incredible passion for the International Worker community. The lessons he has taught me from his almost 20 years of experience hiring International Workers have been immense. Most importantly though. Dennis Yu is someone who wants the absolute best for you and is willing to tell you the truth. Dennis sat with me at a point in my business where I was floundering but did not want to admit it. He asked some very straight forward questions to get me to admit my issues, highlighted the issues, and then helped me create a roadmap to success.

Atiba de Souza

International Keynote Speaker | Video Content Superman | Superconnector |

Dennis, which I had the pleasure of working with is one of the most giving, honest and tell you as it is person I ever know. The knowledge this man has is remarkable and he just gives it out freely. He is not pretentious and always entertain anyone big or small in the industry always willing to help. If you ever get a golden opportunity to work with him or mentored by him say YES!. You will notr regret Dennis, which I had the pleasure of working with is one of the most giving, honest and tell you as it is person I ever know. The knowledge this man has is remarkable and he just gives it out freely. He is not pretentious and always entertain anyone big or small in the industry always willing to help. If you ever get a golden opportunity to work with him or mentored by him say YES!. You will not regret

Nixon Lee

The PR Whisperer

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